Communication – Nice, Need, Must Know

Communication – Nice, Need, Must Know

It’s easy to try to jam too much into your emails, but I use the M-N-N method when I’m emailing. The M-N-N stands for Must, Need and Nice.

Often what happens when people write emails is they get like verbal diarrhoea. And they basically just take every thought that they have in their head and they jot it down and they click send! And then they wonder they get no response from the person they are sending it to or no action is done.

It’s because nobody knows what you want them to do.

We seem to be very quick in sending emails off, unlike the days when we would write a letter and you’d actually review it a few times before you sent it. So I use the M-N-N method. I work out first of all what’s the MUST know items. I document those quickly and easily and I don’t do it by having a multitude of paragraphs.

Sometimes it might just be a key point and a couple of bulleted points.

Then I’ll put in the Need to know, so what are the things that they need to know. I’d also do a paragraph, a couple of bulleted points and the same with the Nice to know.

And at the end, I’d put a call to action. What is it that I am expecting from people in order to get the result that I want?

So rather than just giving verbal diarrhoea off to your team mates, your colleagues or your customers or your suppliers, why not use the M-N-N method to make your life easier when you’re emailing.

Donna Hanson is a productivity and technology speaker and author of Ctrl + Alt + Delete – Reboot Your ProductivityDonna works with executives and their teams to increase productivity and performance with everyday technology.  For more information on how Donna helps, visit

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